Travelers to Western Crete appear to be satisfied with restaurant services, accommodation, local hospitality and transport, calling for improvement in road networks and signage, cleanliness and park areas, according to a university study released this week by local tourism stakeholders.
According to Fraport 2018 data, Chania Airport handled a total of 1,165 thousand arrivals, marking a 6.4 percent rise against the previous year with travelers mainly from Poland (up by 31 percent), Finland (by 27 percent), Germany (up by 12 percent) as well as from Sweden, the UK, Norway and Denmark, the majority of whom arrive on low-cost carriers.
Basic research findings include:
- The majority of travelers coming through Chania Airport stay at 3- or 4-star hotels in Chania, Platania, and Agia Marina for an average nine nights,
- Average spending (not including airline tickets and accommodation) per trip came to 750 euros, sightly higher than a year earlier with almost half going to dining and purchases,
- Western Crete is popular with families, higher income and solo travelers who chose to stay longer,
- Low-budget Eastern European travelers chose all-inclusive options, which have been declining in the last couple of years,
- A total of 10 percent – higher than last year – of visitors to Western Crete chose home-sharing options, with emphasis on the Chania, Platania, Kissmos and Agia Marina areas,
- The majority of foreign travelers use car rentals for transportation for seven days on average.
Elafonisi is the most popular destination of choice, followed by the beaches of Ballos and Falarssana. And for the first time this year, monasteries and churches are high on visitors to-see agenda. Indicatively, one in three travelers visit museums, and one in five trek through the Samaria Gorge.
On the downside, Western Crete officials are concerned about the decision by some foreign airlines to shift flights to Heraklion Airport, which, they say, “degrades” Chania Airport as an entry gate to the region.
The study was carried out at Chania Airport in 2018, through 4,250 questionnaires translated into seven languages by researchers from the Western Crete Tourism Observatory, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, the Technical University of Crete, and the Chania Hotels Association.